Downtown Performance Festivals Enliven January Arts Scene
The dreariness of January is always broken up by three boundary-pushing downtown performance festivals. Here’s a look at what you can expect at all of them in the next few weeks.
Ben Pryor’s American Realness Festival is back at Abrons Arts Center for an eighth year beginning Thursday. The week-long program offers an array of artists presenting genre-defying dance and performance, along with video, installation, readings and conversations. Highlights include a performance from Trajal Harrell’s multidance project, “Twenty Looks or Paris Is Burning at the Judson Church,” along with the release of a digital publication, “XL,” and an accompanying installation, and “Ghost Ring,” playwright/performer Tina Satter’s familial pop song cycle created with musicians Half Stradle.
Pryor, whom we’ve previously interviewed here, was recently named Director of Performance and Residency Programs at Gibney Dance.
PS122’s Coil Festival gets underway today and goes through Jan. 17. The experimental program opens with ‘CVRTAIN,’ a virtual-reality theatrical piece from Yehuda Duenyas. Other highlights include the U.S. premiere of ‘Real Magic’ from the British troupe Forced Entertainment, an interdisciplinary interpretation of Euripides with ‘La Medea,’ which takes on the style of a Latin disco-pop variety show.
And finally the Under the Radar Festival will once again offer a wide range of programming at Joe’s Pub. This year, however, a musical (‘Blueprint Specials’) will will also be staged on the deck of an aircraft carrier at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Downtown offerings include the queer punk group PWR BTTM, an audience-participation project by ‘600 Highwaymen,’ a coming-of-age piece from Manual Cinema and Rimini Protokoll’s ‘Top Secret International. (Phase 1).’ What a time to be talking about global espionage.